THE MAYOR is a stereotype-shattering documentary that reveals the humanity of seniors living life to the fullest in a retirement community in Texas. Through the titular 88-year-old Mayor back on the dating scene, a Southern dame devoted to her deceased husband, and a hilarious firecracker of a woman with sharp wit and tongue intact, the film intimately explores the eternal struggle for love and connection. The octogenarians of THE MAYOR defy cultural expectations and demonstrate how our golden years can be as meaningful, challenging, and triumphant a time as any other. Written by
Jared Scheib movie - a big hit, revealing a unique world
This excellent, moving, even inspirational film by Jared Scheib rocked me in an unexpected quiet quarter. I had imagined a depiction of a brash, rollicking larger-than-life character, king of his old-age home, and instead got a portrait of a genial, philosophic man (Sam Berger) in his late 80's and an entrée into a human world inside the home, which seemed to house about 40 individuals, which revealed a sub-culture and continuing process of life I had never seen.
Scheib's movie is the best depiction I've ever seen of the actual lives of very old people, lived apart from society. Provoking the oldsters with questions about sex, he achieves an amazing rapport with them and an output of personal information that showed me well, life as we know it just "goes on" til it stops. I mean, some people are in wheelchairs, the ambulance and hearse show up at the front door all the time, and the residents and their cheerful "Mayor" just keep up living their confined lives to the fullest. What else can they (we) do?
My grandparents certainly never discussed their sex lives, their petty quarrels, and the eternal human search for love - with me. Most active, younger people simply do not want to know what goes on in these quarters where folks who are simply too old to function in society live together. Why? It's scary for us, this "old age and death" thing. Also the old folks are not active players we can rely on or relate to. We mostly want to know: "Is Grandma (pa) OK?" and that's sufficient.
Scheib knocks down the barriers of convention. He achieves an entrance into this arcane world through his now-deceased grandmother Dorothy, herself a stalwart, intellectually clear character who makes a great counter-point to the easy-going Sam, the "Mayor." We watch the course of a touching romance Sam has with another home-dweller. As perhaps "comic relief," Scheib also expertly interposes an elderly married couple who are constantly sniping at each other. We see this is their affectionate routine, maybe their survival. All the characters are fully rendered due to his easy, open relationship with them as subjects.
This innovative film is supported by terrific cinematography and editing, also by Scheib, a recent USC film graduate. All the visual images were satisfying and clear. I left the theatre thinking not only had I learned a great deal I hadn't know about (ahem) life but also that I'd seen a dynamic, revealing, very modern movie.
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